Yemeni kidnappers released a former German diplomat and his four family members Saturday, the diplomat's wife told The Associated Press.

"We are safe, thank God," Magda Chrobog told the AP reporter as she flew to the southern port of Aden from eastern Yemen with her husband, Juergen, and their three children.

The Chrobogs were on a helicopter with a top government negotiator, tribal chief Awadh bin al-Wazir. Magda Chrobog spoke to the AP on the negotiator's cell phone.

In Berlin, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier said the Chrobogs had been freed and were on their way to Aden.

"Juergen Chrobog and his family are in safety," Steinmeier said.

The family and three Yemeni assistants were kidnapped Wednesday when armed tribesmen stopped their two-car convoy on a remote mountain road in Shabwa province, east Yemen, where they were vacationing.

Juergen Chrobog, 65, served as deputy German foreign minister in the government of Gerhard Schroeder, which left office in November.

There was no immediate word on the terms of the deal that led the kidnappers to release the Germans.